Andre Gobett, Boral General Manager Recycling
Andre Gobett is the General Manager and Director of Boral’s Recycling business. He is an Industrial Engineer with MBA from IMD/Switzerland — with close to 20 years’ industry experience. Andre has worked in construction, energy and business growth projects across Europe, South America and Australia. Andre joined Boral in 2017 and has developed Boral’s Recycling growth strategy from its inception and led its execution with and across the business.
Boral’s Widemere Recycling Facility
To provide insights into how Boral is leading the way in providing a circular materials solution and creating innovative ways to reprocess construction waste into recycled and lower carbon materials, Tim Langdon, publisher of Eco Voice, had the pleasure of facilitating a Q & A with Andre Gobett, Boral General Manager Recycling.
Q1. What is Boral focused on in terms of sustainability?
While my role is focused on managing our recycling business, what I can say broadly about Boral’s broader focus on sustainability is that our ambition remains to be net zero by 2050, and we are working hard on our decarbonisation pathway, and meeting our obligations under the safeguard mechanism legislation.
As a business we are looking at ways to decarbonise our operations through a variety of measures including the use of renewable energy and alternative fuels. We have adopted an ambitious target to achieve 60% of our cement kiln’s thermal energy from alternative fuels. We are currently in the commissioning phase of our chlorine bypass project which is a key enabler to ramp up the use of alternative fuels.
We have growing demand for our range of lower carbon concrete products and continue to look at how we can further increase the use supplementary cementitious materials to replace cement in concrete.
In my immediate area, within Boral’s Recycling business, we’re growing our operational footprint and circular materials solution.
We recycle over 2 million tonnes of construction and demolition materials through our network of 14 recycling facilities around the country.
We’re set up to reprocess materials from demolition and excavation sites that would otherwise be destined for landfill and repurpose them back into the construction sectors as new sustainable products.
Over 95% of all waste received through our recycling network is recycled and repurposed into materials that can be used in the construction industry. It’s worth noting that for every tonne of material we can reprocess into aggregate, that’s one tonne less of virgin natural material we need to extract from a quarry.
Q2. How important is circular economy thinking to the construction industry?
The market, governments and the public are demanding this shift to more sustainable construction, and circular economy principles help to drive that.
Here in Australia, Governments are demanding – and customers are requesting – use of recycled materials in road, infrastructure and building construction. Through our facilities, we sort, crush and blend to create new products for road base and similar products, as well as ingredients in our concrete and asphalt mixes.
As governments enact more stringent sustainability measures in building and construction codes, the industry needs to respond and increasingly look for circular economy solutions to deliver buildings with lower embodied carbon and higher recycled content.
Q3. What are examples of the innovative ways Boral reprocess construction waste into recycled and lower carbon materials?
We have a number of recycled products, including our range of high quality specified roadbase products, High Grade Compaction Sands including glass in the mix, pipe bedding, Recycled Asphalt Pavement (RAP), our Innovo asphalt system and Envir-O-agg glass sand that feature materials that have been reprocessed through our recycling facilities.
We can turn old road surfaces into RAP which is then used in new asphalt production to lower environment impacts and costs – some of our plants are able to include up to 30% of RAP, and we’re working to increase this ratio.
Our lower carbon Innovo system aims to improve sustainable outcomes by incorporating everyday waste by-products, such as glass, plastic, tyres, old road pavement, and slag, and repurposing them into roads around the country.
Our Envir-O-agg glass sand is made of clean, washed and crushed recycled glass, blended with natural or recycled materials to provide a more environmentally sustainable product that can be used across a range of applications.
Boral’s Widemere Recycling Facility
Q4. What do you envisage future construction will look like in Australia?
For me personally, it is very clear the industry change is well in train, the industry participants either jump into the wagon or are left behind.
The trends we are seeing towards lower carbon building products, higher inclusion of recycled content in product mixes, and more circular economy principles will only continue and accelerate.
It’s clear more customers want sustainable solutions and businesses are being mandated through the growth in ESG, and the interests of all stakeholders, to think more wholistic about sustainability and the impact they have on the environment and planet.
We will see greater rates of recycling, greater use of recycled products in construction materials and ongoing innovation with new lower carbon products and construction materials as a result. I’m excited for what we are already seeing and further at what the future holds for Recycling in the construction industry.
Q5. How can Boral collaborate with others in your industry to further encourage recycling?
We’re doing more work to make the industry and our construction partners aware of our capabilities when it comes to inbound and outbound recycled materials, and our 360-degree circular materials solution.
We have a strong relationship with various major construction industry leaders, such as Mirvac, Laing O’Rourke, John Holland, CPB, Multiplex, Built, just to name a few, and deliver our solutions to them to enable optimised waste management, reduced disposal costs and visibility end to end of the material flow.
The recent implementation of various success cases with them has been leading other parties interested in working with us to help deliver more sustainable and circular outcomes.
Q6. How can publications, such as Eco Voice, play their part in promoting sustainability in your business sector?
Certainly talking to you and having the opportunity to share our capability in the recycling space with your readers is a good start!
I think having a regular focus on sustainability in construction or the ways in which heavy industry use circular economy principles can only be a good thing. We should put a spotlight on some of the excellent work being done by businesses across the board to become more sustainable and make positive progress on the path to decarbonisation.
First published in 2003, Eco Voice is your go-to publication for sustainability news in Australia. Eco Voice prides itself as an independent news platform with a clear focus on sustainability, with articles coming from a diverse range of contributors – all levels of government, corporations, not-for-profits, community groups, small to medium sized businesses, universities, research organisations, together with input from international sources. Eco Voice values community, conservation and commerce. Eco Voice is a media partner of the prestigious Australian Banksia Sustainability Awards – The Peak Sustainability Awards.
Boral is the largest vertically-integrated construction materials company in Australia. Our network includes prized quarry and cement infrastructure, bitumen, construction materials recycling, asphalt and concrete batching operations.
We employ about 7,500 employees and contractors across our operations that span more than 360 sites nation-wide.
For more than 75 years we’ve been building something great in Australia – rarely a day goes by that you wouldn’t pass one of our sites or trucks, enter a building, use a road, bridge, tunnel, footpath or other critical infrastructure that our people and products have helped enable.